GREAT FALLS — Saturday’s championship matchup is set, and two teams have already secured the top two seeds at the State AA girls basketball tournament.
Billings West defeated Great Falls High, 46-23, and will meet Butte, which defeated Great Falls CMR, 47-41, to advance the Eastern AA girls basketball divisional championship.
The Billings West girls overcame a slow first-half start and dominated the second half on the way to a 46-23 win over Great Falls High. The Bears advance to the Eastern AA divisional championship game and earn a guaranteed spot at the State AA tournament in Butte next weekend.
After jumping out to a 9-0 lead, the Bears allowed Great Falls High to close the first quarter on a 9-1 run. The Bison controlled the pace of play in the second quarter and trailed just 16-15 at halftime.
The Bears created some distance in the third quarter, outscoring the Bison 17-4 for a 33-19 lead. A 13-0 run to start the fourth saw the lead balloon to 46-19, before the Bison scored the final four points of the game.
TyRaa Manuel led all scorers with 12 points, teammate Shayla Montague joined her in double digits with 10. Erin Watt led the Bison with nine points.
Billings West advances to Saturday night’s title game against Butte at 6 p.m.
The No. 2-seed Butte girls withstood a tough challenge from No. 6-seed Great Falls CMR with a 47-41 win. With the victory, the Bulldogs clinch a berth at the state tournament for the first time since 2013 and move on to face Billings West in the Eastern AA divisional championship Friday night at 6 p.m.
Aspen Lovshin led all scorers with 24 points, including a 4-of-6 mark from beyond the arc and a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line.
Ally Cleverley and Brittney Tierney each added 10 points for Butte. Allie Olsen led CMR with 14 points and six rebounds.
Butte led 18-13 at halftime and quickly pushed the lead to 23-13 in the third quarter. The Rustlers battled back with a 12-2 keyed by Olsen’s inside presence to tie the game at 25. CMR briefly took a 31-29 lead in the period, before Butte retook the lead and held off the Rustlers the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs finished 17-20 from the free throw line as a team and iced the game down the stretch from the charity stripe.
Bozeman 42, Billings Skyview 33, loser-out
Billings West 46, Great Falls High 23, semifinal
Butte 47, Great Falls CMR 41, semifinal
Bozeman vs. Great Falls High, loser-out, 9:30 a.m. (at Paris Gibson Gym)
Billings Senior vs. Great Falls CMR, loser-out, 9:30 a.m.
Bozeman/Great Falls High winner vs. Billings Senior/Great Falls CMR winner, consolation, 3 p.m.
Billings West vs. Butte, championship, 6 p.m.